StandWithUs Takes anti-J Street Stand

Breaking with the cautious attitude of major Jewish institutions, a prominent pro-Israel group in the U.S. has launched a scathing verbal attack on J Street, the left-leaning U.S. lobby for Israel, ahead of its inaugural conference which begins Sunday.

In a recent statement, StandWithUs - a nonprofit working to counter anti-Israel and anti-Semitic phenomena on campuses - asserted that since its foundation last April, J Street has "echoed" the position of professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, who argue the "Israel lobby" is too powerful in Washington.

"One of the most dangerous things that can be said about Jews is that they control the world, or America, or American foreign policy," said Roz Rothstein from Los Angeles, who founded StandWithUs in 2001.

Rothstein, who visited Israel this week for the Presidential Conference, argued J Street "contributes to this way of thinking" with statements like the one made on June 9 by J Street's executive director Jeremy Ben Ami, who wrote that "for decades, established pro-Israel groups have enforced right-wing message discipline on Israel in Congress."

Not worth a reaction

A spokesperson for the self-described "pro-Israel, pro-peace" lobby, Amy Spitalnick, told Anglo File on Monday that her organization had no comment on this and other accusations by StandWithUs "because they do not merit a reaction."

StandWithUs wrote its protest letter to the J Street conference's 160-person congressional host committee, which includes John Kerry, Henry Waxman and Dianne Feinstein. Israel 's ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren, said he will not attend the J Street conference, set to take place next week in Washington D.C.

StandWithUs, which has an annual budget of roughly $4 million, also wrote that J Street , whose annual budget is $3 million, drew "a moral equivalence" between Israel and Hamas when the lobby group said during Israel's recent campaign in Gaza that "it could not identify who was right or who was wrong."

According to Rothstein, StandWithUs will send a delegation of observers - whose makeup and identity she would not disclose - to the J Street conference next week.

"Though it's probably made up of fine people, J Street's message can be dangerous," said Rothstein. "It has a very attractive-looking pitch that speaks of peace and love, which we all want, but that world view only works with those who share it. Hamas doesn't, Iran doesn't and many others don't share it either."

SOURCE: Ha'aretz



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